Icebreaker goes primal for the launch of its new collection

Icebreaker has released a new ad called ‘Live wild. Be wild’, which is part of a larger campaign to be launched in New Zealand in the next six months. And as usual (and as has worked for it) the brand has again effectively emphasised a connection to nature.

The ad is much like a sequence in an action film with suspenseful music and fast cutting shots with some epic scenery and extreme sports thrown in for good measure.

The spot appears to be influenced by the primal side of human nature, the instinctive, adrenal side that wants: “To run, to stampede, to flock, to fight, or take flight. To track …”. It compares this side of our nature to how many of us spend our days, sitting behind desks, typing, commuting, “micro-managing”.

As the ad’s YouTube page reads: “Humans were born in the wild. We were born to fight and take flight, to hunt, chase and stampede. We were born to move and adapt. To conserve body warmth when it’s cold, to let our skin breathe when it’s hot. Be wild again. Be in Icebreaker.”

The brand is also pushing the #LiveWild hashtag.

The ad was created by Icebreaker internally, though DDB was appointed to the account towards the end of last year to help continue its international expansion.

Icebreaker said earlier its decision to use DDB was to capitalise on the agency’s “deep roots in the New Zealand marketplace and worldwide presence in key markets throughout North America and Europe.” The pitch was thought to involve Saatchi & Saatchi and True.

Icebreaker global chief marketing officer Louise Kuegler said the ad launched the new season collection in the Northern Hemisphere last week, and it would be used to launch the same collection in New Zealand and Australia in six months time.

We asked for more information, including why Icebreaker didn’t use DDB for the campaign but Kuegler said more information would be shared when the larger campaign launches early next year.

Meanwhile, DDB has confirmed there is a piece of work launching for Icebreaker next month.

Icebreaker previously released a series of attention-grabbing, almost mythological ‘sexy sheep’ executions, inviting retail environments, inviting retail environments, and a tool called Baacode that allows wearers to discover the provenance of their garments (it has generally done its creative in-house and its internal creative services team is based in Auckland). As a challenger brand, the early days were all about standing out and the inter-species erotica and beautiful photography certainly helped do that, as evidenced by the fact that the brand is now available in more than 44 countries.

But, judging by its website, it now seems to have evolved into a more mature, mainstream adventure apparel brand, a shift it has no doubt made in an effort to appeal to a broader, more conservative customer base in overseas markets.

In September last year Icebreaker had 19 company-branded retail stores, over 4,000 wholesale customers, direct eCommerce and over 400 employees worldwide. Sales had tripled in the past six years with 80 percent of those sales now in Europe and North America. And while Icebreaker is still tiny by global standards, it has ambitions to double sales within the next five years through global expansion across all channels. 

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